The immigration problem today demands a serious debate about how to remedy the situation for the good of the country and its citizens. What we get instead are misleading images and scandalous, politically-motivated allegations. Not surprisingly, the problems continue to worsen.
The rhetoric boiled over recently when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) visited a border detention facility in Texas and proclaimed that abuse of migrants was taking place there. Among her more sensational claims was that migrants were being forced to drink water from toilets.
The charge was quickly debunked by Border Patrol agents who explained that the facilities use a combination toilet-and-sink fixture that provides potable water to those in custody. No matter, the perception was established among those who wanted to believe the charge: border agents are no better than the guards of Abu Ghraib, sadistic goons who mistreat the less fortunate for their own amusement. This is what passes for policy debate in the 21st century.
Ocasio-Cortez is correct that there is abuse of children taking place at the border, but it has nothing to do with the Border Patrol or the Trump administration. In a recent interview, Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, detailed how cartels are “renting children” to “fake families” who use the children to gain access into the U.S. The children are then returned to Mexico or Central America to be “recycled” and used to get more foreign nationals across the border.
The response to this news from anti-borders advocates is cold indifference, presumably because it doesn’t advance their agenda. Fake photos of migrant children in cages provoke outrage, but a criminal syndicate using children as immigration mules is of no great importance.
Our border is being overrun because foreign nationals in Central America have received the message from anti-borders politicians, advocacy groups and media in the U.S.: get to the border with a child in tow and you’re as good as in. Detention facilities are overflowing and after three weeks you will be released into the interior of the U.S. A hearing date will be set months or years in the future, and there will be no penalty if you fail to appear. Find your way to one of America’s numerous sanctuary cities and you will be shielded from accountability.
Our leaders refuse to address the problem in a serious way because the status quo helps them politically. For Democrats, endless migration means the bolstering of a permanent underclass. Poor, low-skilled migrants from developing countries, the theory goes, will make reliable voters for generous welfare programs and the kind of Big Government largesse that Democrats favor. It is a path to an infinite electoral majority.
For some Republicans, there is no problem to fix because mass migration means more bodies willing to work at below-market wages. The fact that flooding the zone with cheap labor will displace American workers is a secondary concern, if it is a concern at all. Big Business will return the favor to anti-borders Republicans in the form of generous campaign donations. In Washington, that’s what’s known as win-win. The only people who lose in both parties’ machinations are Americans seeking safe communities and the opportunity to earn a living.
If mass migration advocates were truly concerned about the plight of children as they claim, they would re-examine U.S. policies that incentivize foreign nationals to arrive at our border. They would demand a war on the cartels that traffic human beings as commodities and exploit children on a grand scale.
That neither of these things is happening speaks volumes about the true agenda of those who point their fingers at the purported cruelty of America, while the real humanitarian crisis is ignored. Both Americans and our neighbors to the south deserve better.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.
Also published at: Brian Lonergan, After AOC’s Toilet Hysteria, Real Abuse at the Border Is Still Ignored, American Greatness, July 21, 2019.